Tag Archive | Foreigners

As Lands Lie Bleeding 

On Remembrance Day I write a poem which is based on the concerns of a 94 year old veteran who served in the Second World War. This former soldier believes that we are now standing at the brink of a third world war and potential global catastrophe due to what he calls the greed and self interest of a group of sociopathetic leaders who have no compassion or empathy for those they lead or for the greater human race as they seek only power no matter the cost to the rest of us. I hope I have done justice to the words of Harry Leslie Smith in this poem which I’ve titled As Lands Lie Bleeding. I hope you enjoy the read. 

As Lands Lie Bleeding 

I can’t stand by and watch the world explode

these are not my words 

but those of a former soldier

in the winter of his years

who genuinely fears for our human race 

this is a man who has faced unspeakable horrors

the likes of which we hoped we would never see again 

like hearing whilst stationed in Germany 

that atomatic bombs had been dropped on japanese cities

and turned the souls of inhabitants 

in to what he describes as chalk marked stenciled drawings on pavements 

in the fragile peace of a cold war world

we had believed those days were behind us 

yet now we stand at a crossroads

not seen since the 1930’s and rise of Nazi Germany

as once more the conservative right 

squares  up for a fight without realising the consequences 

these people have a glorified sense of self 

but no sense of other nor compassion for their plight 

without a moral compass they play games with our lives 

in contrast to those who rebuilt a shattered continent 

at the end of the last global conflict 

who in this country brought us

The NHS and welfare state 

but now the politics of fear and hate are on the rise again 

as the disadvantaged look for scapegoats

to blame for their decline 

shortage of housing and rising crime statistics

blame it on the forigners not the British 

say those who preach exclusion 

as if by doing so we magically solve all problems 

I support an independent Scotland 

but I recognise that independence alone would not solve our problems overnight 

however in the dreamworld of the British Conservative right

they are prepared to make no such admissions about their United Kingdom

and by perpuating their delusions 

they are sacrificing the ambitions of their children 

to live in a better world than this 

an old soldier is warning us 

with autocratic governments in positions of power 

the world stands at the darkest hour 

since the days of Hitler and the reich 

life he says cannot go on like this 

something has to give.

we are standing on the brink of war 

he urges us to take a step back 

not for the Saltaire, stars and stripes, or union flag 

but for humanity 

he worries about the sanity of sociopathetic leaders 

with no respect  for others 

as they lust for power at all costs

and watch lands lie bleeding 

as they play war games by remote control 

 © Gayle Smith 2017 

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Alarm Bells

Hey Readers

This poem was inspired when I read an article in the Guardian which reported that Swedish population in the UK were the latest group to feel the wrath of the Brexit Brigade. You know the we hate Johnny Foreigner little Britishers the ones who will never speak for you and me no matter how much they claim to the contrary So this poem is for all of you who voted yes to independence in 2014 and those who voted to remain in the European Union in last years referendum. I’ve given it the title Alarm Bells I hope you enjoy the read. 

Alarm Bells

They are not the usual targets
for abuse
but according to reports in the guardian
even the Swedes are getting told
we voted for Brexit to get rid of people like you
meanwhile cheerleaders for the red white and blue
proudly proclaim they are taking Britain back again
to them Europe is that place
across the water
a continent that they have no interest in being part of
let alone at the heart of
their excuse is that they are
an island
and don’t need anyone else
we should be more British they say
forgetting the days when Britannia waived the rules
and treated the rest of the world like fools
are well and truly at an end
this friendless nation
wants to live in the ivory towers of isolation
as far away from reality as it’s possible to be
whilst attacking those they see as other
in the press and TV
almost at will
I have to admit it takes lack of social skills
to disturbing new heights
when you are picking fights
with nations who have done you no harm
this is establishment thinking
trickling down to the working classes
who are being told all sorts of lies
to disguise the truth
and avert their gaze from
this shambles made in Westminster
where envy seeps in every  trough
from which they’ve been drinking
god knows critical thinking
is something they would never attempt
they are far too content
with views
not held in civilised lands
since the old black and white news reels
you see on the yesterday channel
they are scraping the bottom of the barrel
and to be honest
Europe will be glad there leaving
it’s time to call time on the intellectual under achievers
who walk among our number
or before we know it
we’ll be sleepwalking on the road to oblivion
United Kingdom my backside
this land of no heroes
misplaced pride and oversized ego’s
has no place in the civilised world
despite the plastic protests
from sociopathic so-called socialists
whose sense of entitlement
leads them to believe they can act as overlords of others
and cover their sins
with rags and ermine robes
now the truths they didn’t want you to know
lies bare for all to see
exposed as a fantasy
the reality of the situation
shows xenophobia at the core
of a nation
which if it is to survive
badly needs a new arrangement
it needed it decades ago
but instead of looking to the future
their leaders yearned for yesterdays
and a golden age, which never truly existed
where people worked up chimneys
and went down mines
with no thoughts of silver linings
when Britain as they wrongly call it
was a happy little island
with no blacks,  no dogs and no Irish.
now their  useful idiots
are picking fights with nations which have done them no harm
as alarm bells ring to herald the death of democracy
in a country where others are viewed with suspicion

@ Gayle Smith 2017

Flag In The Wind ( A Christmas Message For The Comfortable Tendency)

Hey Readers

On day 7 of Blogmas I’m getting ever so slightly political as I send an uncompromising message to those Brexiters who are in the I’m alright union jack brigade., You know, the comfortable tendency who seem to think that the only threat to the Britain they love is whoever the Tory press tells them it is rather than realising they will never get the change they seek by supporting the establishment and demonising people whose only crime is to move to this country as migrants have always done in search of a better life.

It was to get rid of these xenophobic attitudes I voted yes to independence 2014 and to remain in the European Union earlier this year. You see I recognise the contribution that migrants have made to both Scottish and British society. Indeed a few generations ago some members of the paternal side came over Ireland to settle in Scotland and it’s with those roots firmly planted in my heart that I say no to the Brexiters and their toxic anti immigrant views. I have given the poem the title Flag In The Wind I hope you find it a thought provoking read.

image

Flag In The Wind.

Britain must ban migrants

says a man who;waves his flag in the wind

standing isolated on the edge of the cliff

he tells me we’ve started to win

our country back for its citizens

I listen not wanting to reply

before hearing him out

he tells me about our glorious history

of the magna carta and defeating the Armada

I politely inform him his story is English not British

the United Kingdom didn’t come to being

till long after these events

he seems nervous as if I’ve shattered his contented view

of this mythical green and pleasant land

he was brought up to believe in

I say as a Glasgow girl I have different priorities

and excluding those he calls foreigners

it not amongst them

he claims it’s disgusting what they do

says he believes in the red, white, and blue

I ask him how he came to this conclusion

he countered it’s the right solution for our country

If we don’t get rid of them

things could turn ugly

after all they are stealing our jobs and our money

taking our homes and not contributing to our economy

no wonder our country’s in poverty

he stops for breath as if collecting his thoughts

I inform him there are many of us

who wouldn’t agree with his beliefs on migration

people from other nations

have always done their bit for our economic health

done the jobs natives felt beneath them

as a Glaswegian I know my city was built on immigration

the beating heart of the nation

and the empire’s second city

imported workers to fill the jobs

in heavy industries like coal and shipbuilding.

the Irish turned parts of the city green

the Italians, Poles, and Lithuanians

filled the gaps left by Scots

who ventured to Canada and Australia

Immigrants are not money grabbing failures

they are made out to be

by UKIP, Britain First , and BNP

and the Conservatives and the Labour Party

should not be pandering to this belief

when the evidence supports the opposite view

we don’t need to teach anyone British values

or Scottish ones come to that

Diaspora’s have generations of success

to use as examples to the Romanian family in Castlemilk

or the Syrians who settled in Shettleston

and see that Baby in Bethlehem

he was a Palestinian

I challenge him by saying

If you’re going to call yourself a Christian

then act in the way that Jesus would want

don’t haunt the hearts of the gullible

this country may be in trouble

but it’s not the so-called foreigners who cause it

I know there’s unemployment

but it’s Tory austerity that’s causing the issues

the man then says Scotland should let Westminster decide what’s best

I tell him attitudes like that

are the reason I voted yes

and though we didn’t gain our independence

we got a large enough vote share to make the city nervous

but why you would want to leave us

he asks without a trace of irony

not realising that Thatcher and Blair left a toxic trail

Jesus was nailed to a cross for less

but this member of the comfortable tendency

still refused to blame anyone but those the daily mail demonises

I tried mentioning the House Of Lords

making him aware of how much of his money is spent

on this unnecessary white elephant

the only purpose of which is to gift the wealthy elderly

the chance to sleep indoors

rather than face the cold they gift to others

less fortunate than themselves

he shakes his head refusing to understand

his poverty will never be cured

by the establishment he defends

they have no interest in him

to pretend otherwise is to lie only to himself

and wave a flag in the wind

which will blow him away on the coldest night of winter.

@ Gayle Smith 2016

Marching Backwards

Hey Readers

It is my considered opinion that there is something very wrong with politics in democratic nations. With regards to the UK, there has been a disturbing rise in the number of racially motivated attacks in the aftermath of the Brexit vote and there have also been a significant increase in transphobic and disability related hate crimes.

Whilst not everyone who voted to leave the European Union is a racist and many decent and honourable socialists voted to leave for a completely different set of reasons but there can be no denying that post Brexit Britain has unleashed a very unhealthy strain of right wing British Nationalism which if unchecked could see Britain more divided than at any time since the 1930’s.

As a supporter of Scottish independence some people might say this should please me but those who make such wild assumptions do not know me and will never know me. I may be a member
of the Scottish National Party but I was raised an internationalist and I will hopefully many years from now die an internationalist. So believe me when I say I take no pleasure in watching this horror story unravel and the recent victory of Donald Trump will I fear drive this right wing agenda still further. It is with this division and politics of fear clear in my mind I have written this poem entitled Marching Backwards I hope you find it a challenging and thought provoking read.

Marching Backwards

Good morning Britain

I am now going give you a wake up call

ignore it and one day you will be

welcome to the UKKK

an insular xenophobic
small minded island

led by a right wing authoritarian regime

where a very privileged few
will fan the flames of fear

Who needs the facts when you have cheerleaders

like the BBC and 90 per cent of broadcast media.

If we try to find the truth they’ll ban the internet especially Wikipedia

they may deprive us of our human rights

but they’ll do it under the guise

of keeping us safe at nights

whilst numbing our minds

by remote control

EastEnders and Coronation Street

are light family viewing

not manna for the soul

but this is their strategy

they want you to talk about some fictional characters

having problems with their sexuality

this will prove how liberal you are

to friends and neighbours in your street

and your drinking companions at the bar

providing nobody like that lives next door to you

that would to be too much to handle

in this new fantasy land

where the only scandal is getting caught with your morals down

It just isn’t right and all those Muslims and other foreigners

frighten granny’s in Gloucester,

though she won’t say that when visiting her Syrian doctor

or her Bosnian care worker

In this land of strivers and shirkers

her Polish bank manager is always so nice and eager to help

but in this gray unpleasant land

she and her fellow Brits tell anyone willing to listen

this is their United Kingdom

so everyone else has to look , think , speak like them

they see 10 Downing Street
as the epicentre of civilisation

believing that Jesus once walked in their nation

claiming foreign fields as forever English

forgetting or dismissing the fact Scotland Wales and at least a small part of Ireland

are still for the moment part of the United Kingdom

they talk about only when it suits

meanwhile as union flags, flutes and Nazi salutes

are dismissed as harmless fun

tabloid Tories like The Sun, The Mail, and Daily Express

make me proud I voted yes in the independence referendum

and if they think I’ll by led like sheep to Armageddon

they must be living in an alternative reality

televised trivialities will not stop me

 pursuing my vision of a better world

where inclusion and attainment are not dirty words

and aspiration is viewed as normal

not dependent on a formal by which I mean private education

we must remove walls not build them

to keep others out

this isn’t what progress is about

nor is it about labelling, demonising, or stereotyping

to provide the few with silver linings

at the expense of everyone else

this mind thyself attitude

which puts Britain first

is the refuge of the cursed

the curse which if ignored

could see the wolf enter through the back door

and wreck havoc if unchecked

this is supposed to be
a nation of fairness and respect

where all lives matter

but the shaven heads who hold their flags

and chant Rule Britannia

don’t agree

these poster boys for the BNP
Britain First

and others on that side of the political spectrum

are the kind of Brits who don’t contest elections

this type of subject has no time

for anything as complex as choice

only wanting one nation one voice, one race

the world will be a safer place
they claim

point the finger of what they see as shame

at any group they don’t like

disabled people, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender

people of different ethnicities

these people are not truly British

according to their way of thinking

as the sinking ship austerity

brings their ideas into the mainstream

if this poem doesn’t make uncomfortable reading

we have not learned the lessons of history

and will be condemned to repeat its mistakes

by marching backwards to the right.

@ Gayle Smith 2016.

We Are Scotland

Hey Readers

This poem is my response to those on the right who want us to list what they call foreign workers and I call fellow global citizens who were born outside the UK. Personally I find this idea both offensive and ridiculous. So in support of Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who says we will have no part in this I have written this poem entitled We Are Scotland. I hope you enjoy the read.

We Are Scotland

As a child
I had teachers from Switzerland and France
classmates from India, Ireland and Italy
so I say with dignity
they are Scotland.

Through family friendships
I knew Poles, Lithuanians,
Germans and Australians
so I make the claim for them
they are Scotland

With relatives from Ireland ,
England, Canada and several other countries
I gained different inspirations
Xenophobia disgusts me
so I say with pride 
they are Scotland

At university I was tutored by scholars from various nations
made friends from many others
humanity was my passport to the world
I know the haves and have nots
Scots by birth or by adoption
they have a home here
they are Scotland

As a friend I have dined
with Indonesians, Syrians, Palestinians Turks and Chileans
I’ve had Eritrean food
and it tasted brilliant
they are Scotland

As a poet I have shared stages
with performers from Portugal New Zealand, Spain, Jamaica and Sweden
so this mouthy wee Glaswegian
shouts from the rafters
they are Scotland

as a trans woman I have met trans sisters
from Mexico, Nigeria, Italy, and the USA
In the name of Equality
It’s my privilege to say
If they are Scotland
its time to replace
they with we
and say to the world

We are Scotland
and we are a voice for fairness.

@ Gayle Smith 2016

Breakfast Means Breakfast

Hey Readers

In her recent speech to the Conservative Party Conference  British Prime Minister Theresa May seemed to be under the delusion that she could stop Scotland from holding a second independence referendum  should we choose to do so, simply by sneering at us and shouting Brexit Means Brexit. Now far be it from me to put an unelected tyrant with no mandate in Scotland in her place but she needs to be told if there’s any sneering to be done we’re the ones who are going to do it.  Well at least we have a First Minister who has been democratically elected by our people and who but for a corrupt system of PR would be heading a second majority government. It is as a reminder to the Right Honourable Lady that she will never stop the people of Scotland exercising our democratic will that I have written this poem which takes a satirical look at the sinister anti Scottish undertones in her speech. I have titled it Breakfast Means Breakfast , I hope you enjoy the read.

Breakfast Means Breakfast

I had to tell them no
you can’t have lunch I forbid it
you must understand I’m in command
there is just one meal you’re getting
so don’t go forgetting
Breakfast means Breakfast
Now where are my chocolate digestives
I hope that Nicola and Kezia
haven’t been helping themselves
I’ll need to put their favourites on the top shelves
with that stuff I have to stash away from Boris
no wonder I gave him the job of dealing with Johnny Foreigner
but for now breakfast means breakfast
now where is my Belgian chocolate
damn I can’t remember where I hid it
all I know is I placed it
out of the reach of the children
this is my kingdom not theirs
It’s not fair they don’t like me
well except Ruth
the only one who accepts
my truth
lives by my rules
without question
the rest will just have to learn
what I say goes
I’m replacing Thistles with Roses
and Haggis with Tripe
I don’t care if they don’t like it
I’m banning shortbread and Irn Bru forever
this family is better together
they will not be allowed to leave home
I’m putting my foot down and stamping it loudly
because I’m proud to be head of this house
and no-one will take my position
this is my kingdom
and some tartan agitators
SNP Greens and and Leftie Labour
need to be told
nobody mocks my golden ambition
of a new Victorian age
where those who ruled commanded the stage
and those we ruled knew their place
we got the nice plates and the
the treats
and they got the scraps but  were content with their lot
why can’t the Scots see
this is the way it’s meant to be
I take holidays to Greece
whilst they have greasy diets
which will make them too fat to riot.
I need to keep them quiet
and remind them that no matter the time of day
they will do as I say
and breakfast means breakfast
they are getting no free lunches
yes I know their revenue pays
for my attack of the munchies
but that’s irrelevant
like the Welsh and all others
I don’t like they live in the servants, quarters
my world does have borders
to keep the foreigners out
they may be nice in there proper place
I wear French lace
and Italian leather
but my  family are better together
and they will come first at all times
I can’t decide whether to have
French or Spanish wine
with my Italian meal
It’s a tough decision
but I will make it my way
and the United Kingdom
will rejoice whatever do
as for the Scots they’ll be too busy finishing their cereal to care
eventually they’ll give up in despair
content themselves with one meal a day
and concede their irrational demands
they will love the breakfast menu
it will come decorated in red white and blue
what’s that ?
I heard the door shutting
someone’s left a note
it says thanks for nothing
we’re off out to the Cafe Euro
so don’t wait up we’re not coming back
we’re moving on
the diet is less restrictive
has more choice
and the menu is written in multitude of tongues
it’s the kind of place where breakfast is only served once a day
and doesn’t come with a side of attitudes

@ Gayle Smith 2016

Bus Stop Conversations

Hey Readers

I wrote this poem after an interesting conversation I had with a young Lithuanian women at a city centre bus stop as we both wanted to avoid any unwanted attentions from drunks who were aimlessly wandering about in our vicinity. Though they were probably harmless enough we were not the type of girls who wanted to smell the midnight perfume of stale beer and sexism. During our chat we set about setting the world to rights and covered a range of issues from Patriotism to Putin and the politics of identity. I found this chat be both enjoyable and enlightening and as well as serving the purpose of keeping any drunks out of harm’s way or to be more accurate our way. I’ve given it the title Bus Stop Conversations I hope you enjoy the read.

Bus Stop Conversations

It was one of those bus stop conversations
woman have to deflect unwanted attention
ignore public displays of affection
or mindless drunken bawling
In the time between late night and early morning
we talk on anything and everything
with no limits to what we’ll discuss
in the chill of a  summer’s eve
the clear blue water of a generation between us
meant different experiences  made who we are
on that night as the stars
lit up the darkness
our contrasting accents
spoke of similar frustrations
we talked of Brexit and its implications
for Scotland and the UK
and a Lithuanian Scot
told me she hopes and prays
for the day Scotland the land she now calls home
will gain our independence
you are more European
than the other nations of Britain
she says
I told I her I voted yes in 2014
not for a dream but a vision
of a fairer tomorrow
where titled lords and ladies
no longer exist
we agree on this
she tells me she finds the idea
ridiculous
the product of another age
says Scotland and Lithuania
have much in common
Independence alone won’t solve
but it is a starting point
from which we can build
this is a girl who speaks
from a good place
a child of her country’s first independence generation
she only knows the stories
of her country’s past
though she fears Putin and what he might do
she believes her country is safe for now
but fears imperial Russia will one day strike again
it is not a country you want to get angry
it would not be wise to pick a fight
we talked on the rise of the right
this articulate young woman said she despaired
of Britain’s vote to leave
the EU
it is not wise
the people were fed lies
to suit the opinions
of those who fear tomorrow
and have a distrust of foreigners
she smiled when I said
that in my opinion foreigners
don’t exist
we are all global citizens
and it is insanity to claim
anything to the contrary
we both dislike privilege and the monarchy
realise it is because of hierarchy
and the unequal distribution of wealth
poverty and inequality
has a home in our nation
and others
I tell her we need to run for cover
from this kind of politics
the Scotland I want won’t do the mind thyself and no-one else approach to democracy
that has been tried in other nations
and women benefit least of all from that train of thought
on hearing this she told me
how she found a patriotism for the land of my birth
whilst on holiday in her own
and on leaving for the airport
she said to her mum
she had go home
to Scotland
her bus arrived before mine
we smiled as we parted
the bonds of womanhood
had crossed the generations
as women from different countries chatted
to avoid unwanted attentions
of strangers
and enjoyed a bus stop conversation
on the journey of a nation

@ Gayle Smith 2016